2004 Faculty Jazz Groups Visit to Shizuoka
Six members of the UNO music faculty traveled to Japan in October to visit Omaha’s sister city and UNO’s sister university - Shizuoka and Shizuoka University. This marked the first official faculty exchange to the city and university for the UNO Music Department in ten years. The delegation consisted of James Saker, Chair of the Music Department; Roger Foltz, Coordinator of International Exchanges in Music; and members of the UNO Faculty Jazz Quartet known as MaRoBaPe (Pete Madsen, Tomm Roland, Ken Bales, and Darren Pettit).
The purpose of the tour was to meet with faculty and administrators and explore opportunities for future educational and cultural exchanges. The visit included a tour of the Shizuoka Performing Arts Park and the Kunozan Toshogu Shrine. Upon arrival on campus, the delegation was welcomed by Aiko Takagi, a Shizuoka University graduate who earned a Master of Music degree in cello performance at UNO in 2003.
On the campus of Shizuoka University the MaRoBaPe presented improvisation clinic sessions. Following these, the students had individual conferences with faculty members in their respective areas. In addition UNO faculty met with Shizuoka University President Yoshimitsu Amagishi and his administrative team as well as members of the Shizuoka Music Department. The visitors were treated to wonderful food and hospitality including a special performance of traditional Japanese music by a student musical group.
The Shizuoka portion of the visit concluded with a formal performance by MaRoBaPe. At the end of the concert members of the Shizuoka University Student Jazz Orchestra (SSH) joined the UNO group in several numbers. Afterwards a tremendous reception was held which included Shizuoka faculty, students and a number of Shizuoka Sister City dignitaries. In addition, the reception was attended by three of UNO scholarship students (Josh Noonan, Justin Romsa, and Heath Hummel) as well as Pam Jewell (a native of Omaha now living in Shizuoka). As a result of this visit, the groundwork was laid for agreements to enhance and expand music faculty and student exchanges between our two institutions. The delegation was left with wonderful impressions, new friends, and an anticipation of continued growth of years of friendship between Shizuoka and Omaha.